Novel Adventurers: Telenovelas, Sortilegio and William Levy

We’re blogging about pop culture on Novel Adventurers this week and my contribution is the telenovela:

Sortilegio TelenovelaI like my entertainment soapy—romance, drama, intrigue!—as does much of the world. I figure this is a good thing. It’s easier to connect with people, easier to find amusement, easier to translate between cultures. Certainly easier to survive three months living with a Georgian family, especially when 90 percent of the time we had no common language beyond charades.

And I did survive, thanks largely to telenovelas: campy, silly and melodramatic. Where the women wear more make-up than a South Beach drag queen on Halloween. Where a man’s jaw is always clenched, his fists ready for a fight. Where furrowed brows and tears speak louder than words, and I FEEL the pain.

Unlike their American soap opera cousins that run for years, telenovelas average around six months and play nightly on primetime, which makes them highly profitable and exportable to new and growing audiences the world over.

In Georgia, we watched telenovelas every evening on a small television above the kitchen table. True, I could barely communicate with the women gathered around the table. Nor could I understand most of the words on the television, although I’d catch snippets of random Spanish in the background thanks to atrocious dubbing.

But I could stare at the smoldering Alejandro, a man I understood without words. A man who didn’t like the restriction of shirts, or chest hair, but if he absolutely must cover his magnificent, rippling torso for a dinner party with his no-doubt-evil mama, only white linen or pink/turquoise silk would touch his perfectly bronzed skin. And, por supuesto, buttoning said shirt was never an option.

>>Read the rest on Novel Adventurers.

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